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My Boss is Taking Advantage of the Recession

All the experts agree: unemployment isn’t going down any time soon.

In fact, many experts, including National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, believe that it may stay high for years to come.

Anyone who has a job knows that they are lucky—to a point. According to, only 45 percent of people are satisfied with their job. This is the “lowest level since record keeping began twenty-two years ago.”

Why are so many workers unhappy?
Lack of security, lack of interest in the work, high cost of health insurance, and lack of salary increases coupled with more work are some of the reasons people are so miserable at their jobs.

Another reason? Bad bosses. Unfortunately, there are plenty of companies and bosses who have begun taking advantage of their workers. For too many employees, the workplace has become a place of fear and anxiety. Workers know that they can be easily replaced and many bosses hold this over them, using the high unemployment as a threat. Employees are afraid to complain or stand up for themselves, and many bosses are happy to keep them quiet.

Companies that let people go at the beginning of the recession often do not intend to hire new people. Even as the workload increases, they simply pile it on the workers who are still there.

“Every day I feel taken advantage of. My boss knows that I can’t quit, that there aren’t any jobs out there. So he treats me badly, he piles more and more work on and there is no hope of a raise,” said one woman who wishes to remain anonymous.

Rachel works for a big nationwide corporation. Currently, she is being paid for one job while actually doing another. She is making almost $20,000 less than she should be. The company dangles the promise of the better job in front of her; meanwhile, she is doing the work of both jobs. And, when you figure out the amount she’s making for all of the work she is doing, she’s getting paid close to minimum wage.

Rachel told me, “Yet again, big business wins out. They are able to abuse their workers who fear losing their jobs. In my situation, it’s a big corporation, and they are all about family values and doing for the community, but they treat their workers like crap. Again, it’s big business profiting off other people’s hardships.”

I spoke to many people about their current treatment; however, almost no one wanted me to use his or her real name. They were too afraid. Here are some of the more common complaints that I heard:

  • Piles more and more work on me
  • Doesn’t offer any benefits—no health insurance, no retirement
  • Outdated equipment that causes pain to work on day after day
  • Reneges on promises
  • Takes all of the glory while I do all of the work
  • Always complains, never has anything good to say to me

What Can You Do?
I asked Career Coach, Laura Tirello, what employees could do to make things better. She told me that, “The first thing you need to do is take a breath and think about the situation. Our human nature tends to be reactionary, but in the workplace, reacting to a situation without thought is never good.

Instead of a reaction, you need to develop a strategy. If it is a situation that involves several of your co-workers discuss how the situation could be handled by working together to create a new system where the work gets done in a timely manner and everyone’s time is respected. Present it to the management as a group; emphasize your commitment to the company and how this plan would benefit everyone.

Try to avoid complaining about the situation, this may shut the management off completely. Creating alternatives in which there is a mutual benefit will create a more open atmosphere where a healthy discussion can occur.

If you are in a position where you have to go it alone, make an appointment with your boss. Start the meeting off by empathizing with him about the struggles that exist in the current economic climate and how this affects everyone. Have a plan you can present to him that shows you are still a team player, but allows you to some freedom in getting your task completed. This could be by organizing your responsibilities differently or options that could help the company meet its objectives more effectively. The key here is to empower yourself by creating a new way of getting things done that benefits the company and your personal time equally.”

Originally published on Young Money